The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, at his Abuja lodge, recently, played host to a team of Envioronmental and Town Planning experts from the UN-Habitat African Regional Office in Kenya, led by Dr Naison Maginza Mutizwa, the UN- Habitat African Regional Director. In an information released after the meeting, by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, the thrust of the meeting was in line with the development of some metro-cities in Abia State like, Aba, Umuahia and Ohafia. Also from the CPS’ report, the Abia State Government has already provided the part funding towards the project which he said “is a collaborative effort of the Government of Abia State and the UN- Habitat.”
With the benefit of hindsight,the United Nations Human Settlement Programme, also known as the UN- Habitat, is the UN program for human settlements and sustainable urban developments established since 1978, as an outcome of the first UN sustainable urban development (Habitat 1) held in Vancouver, Canada in 1976. Its head office is in Nairobi Kenya.
The UN-Habitat is a United Nations agency that works towards a sustainable urbanisation of human settlements. Apart from her primary roles in Urban planning and design , UN-Habitat, through one of its 3 units, the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit(RMPU), also plays key roles in National Urban policies-from “pre-feasibility diagnostic development” to the implementation, monitoring and tracking process. RMPU also helps the regional, metropolitan and city regions in the planning and development of “corridors”, “clusters” and systems of cities as well as the promotion of a green economy, smart city approach and urban- rural linkages, not excluding the spatial planning framework at metropolitan cities.
Indeed urbanisation presents some of the most significant opportunities as well as challenges in today’s world. Although cities are centres for economic growth and developments it, however, faces demographic, environmental, economic and social challenges that can mar the esctatics of any city if not properly managed.
The collaboration of the Abia State Government and the UN- Habitat is, therefore, timely and in tandem with the United Nations Agenda for sustainable development and sustainable development goal 11, which includes “to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” It will provide the desired opportunity to redesign or re-modify the cities of Aba and Umuahia in order to cushion the adverse effects of urbanization.
The adoption of the new Urban Agenda by the UN in 2016 has resulted in national, state and local governments, around the world, embarking on a transformative path towards making SDG11 a reality. That is the path Governor Ikpeazu has taken.
Apart from the way-forward meeting with the UN-Habitat team, Governor Ikpeazu has also, just few days ago, re-affirmed his determination to change the face of Aba and Umuahia.Tough decisions like procuring waste disposal compactors, declaring a state of emergency on Envioronmental Sanitation in Aba and Umuahia,unbundling of ASEPA and the sack of the non-performing GM of ASEPA,Mr Apugo, are pointers to the fact that Governor Ikpeazu is committed to transforming Abia State.
By meaningfully engaging all stakeholders and taken the lead in sanitising Abia, Governor Ikpeazu has proven, once again, that he has the ability to harness transformational changes that are capable of improving the lives of the inhabitants of Aba and Umuahia metropolis.
Regardless, Abia State, in many context, lack the capacity and the tools needed to address all the challenges posed by urbanisation, hence, the expertise that, a renowed International Agency, UN-Habitat, provides.
Crisis Rocks Table Water Producers In Rivers …As Splinter Group Emerges
The Rivers State Chapter of Table Water Producers is now facing serious crisis following the emergence of different groups.
Sources informed The Tide that the former state chairman of the Association of Table Water Producers of Nigeria (ATWAP) Mr. Egberi Odiri Maison is now leading a group which goes by the name Water Producers Association of Nigeria (WAPAN).
The Tide also learnt that the emergence of the different factions follows a protest of the former executive of the Association of Table Waters Producers of Nigeria (ATWAP) over the imposition of N60,000 seminar levy on members of the association by the National Executive of ATWAP.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide in his office in Port Harcourt, the former state chairman of ATWAP; Mr Egberi Odiri Macson, said he personally led the protest which led to the division of the association.
He said the National Executive of the Association acted beyond its powers by imposing such a high charge, adding that before now, trainings of members were done without any financial charges.
According to him, the whooping amount involved is beyond the capacity of many members.
“I personally kicked against it, because charges for such training should be made affordable.”
He added that seminars are the only thing that members benefit from an Association.
Macson also raised the issue of Bushkody Machine which he alleged members are being forced to buy at the cost of N60,000 when the landing cost is just N27,000.
He, however said the split in the rank and file of the Association will not affect the quality of table water production in the state as he is on ground.
According to him, the splinter group does not have the interest of people at heart, stressing that Water Producers Association of Nigeria (WAPAN0 is working hard to ensure that fake water producers are taken care of.
The WAPAN chairman also denied knowledge of any fake water factories purportedly shutdown by the National Agency for Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in the state.
Effort to get the reactions of the splinter group however proved abortive.
Flooding: Experts Task States On Preventive Measures
Environmental experts have advised state governments to put up measures to forestall negative impact of flooding ahead of rainy seasons in the future.
The environmentalists said that the reactionary measures put up by states at the thick of flooding incidents had not paid off as flooding causalities across the states had increased.
They gave the advice while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, against the backdrop of warnings of heavier rainfall in 2020 by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NHISA).
NHISA had earlier advised states to avoid fire brigade approach to flooding.
Toyin Oshaniwa, the Executive Director, Nature Care Resource Centre, (NCRC) Lagos, said: “flooding will always present a problem to many states across the nation due to both natural and man-made factors.
“Lagos state by virtue of its low lying landscape is highly prone to flooding.
“It is therefore essential for every state and stakeholders to act and take proactive measures in reducing the impacts of flooding in 2020.
“The strategy for 2020 flood management across states should be built on Private-Public Partnership, especially in the areas of restoration of urban storm water lines.
“This can be achieved through the construction and reclamation of canals and anti-drainage barriers,” he said.
He added that practicing flood prevention when flooding already occurred should be discarded saying it only amounted to window dressing with no positive bearing on the victims.
Similarly, Mr Ane Leslie-Adogame, of Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev Nigeria), said that states should prioritise the issue of flooding.
Leslie-Adogame, listed pragmatic steps towards checking flooding to include: structural and non-structural approaches for effective flood risk assessment, management and adaptation.
He said that there was urgent need to strengthen flood disaster early warnings and advocacy mechanisms both at states and local levels in addition to the need for proactive measures to maintain drainage channels regularly.
“States or locations without drainage infrastructure should be given due attention, thus construction or upgrading of drainage channels.
“There should be a strong policy towards indiscriminate dumping of refuse and obstruction of drainage channels.
“There should be continuous cleaning and de-silting of primary and secondary canals across the state to allow free flow of storm water and evacuation of traders on drainage channels.
“There should be a clear budgetary provision for flood management in states.
“State governments should commission urgent urban flood vulnerability mapping, to aid proper flood disaster planning systems,” he said.
Ms Omobola Eko, Convener Urban Tree Revival Team (UTRT), said that the culture of tree planting and maintenance of forest buffer zones would aid the flood prevention campaign.
She said that states should raise awareness on the importance of wetlands through knowledge products.
NAN reports that many states were devastated by the seasonal flooding that occurred in 2012, and subsequent years since then.
The prediction by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had predicted that the onset of the rainy season in the southern part of Nigeria would begin from Feb. 24 while in the North the earliest would be by June 22.
The rainfall would begin to cease from the North going by the prediction from Sept. 26 downwards to the South by December 28.
Diocese Blames Mass Exodus Of Parishioners On Oil Pollution
The Bishop Diocese of Niger Delta North Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Ralph, Ebirien has blamed the mass exodus of parishioners from the diocese on oil pollution.
Rt. Rev. Ebirien who said this at the 2020 Joint Provisional Council Meeting of the church in Port Harcourt said the effect of oil exploitation as on the land and sea “the sea is not yielding much fishes and other aquatic lives are decreasing” he said.
The Bishop said the effect of the oil exploitation is affecting the health of the people.
He added that “most of the seafoods are polluted, thus becoming health hazard.
“The economic activity in the area is every low thus causing mass exodus from the rural communities to the urban cities.”
Ebirien pleaded with members of the church to join in the prayers for God to touch the government to think about the rural communities so that they will enjoy the government.
“We request the Joint Council to pray for us,” he pleaded.
The Bishop said the theme of the Joint Provisional Council Meeting which is, “Knowing God” requires every Christian to conform to the death of Jesus Christ.
“We die with him, we are dead until we are raised with him from the tomb of water.
“There will be no resurrection to life unless one has been crucified with Jesus, on the cross of repentance and raised with him in a resurrection from the grace of water” the Bishop said.
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